Cataract Trail, Laurel Dell Fire Road, Kent Trail to Serpentine Point and Alpine Lake

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Mount Tamalpais Watershed

Cataract Trail, Laurel Dell Fire Road, Kent Trail to Serpentine Point and Alpine Lake is a 7.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Fairfax, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.1 miles Elevation Gain: 2,132 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash


nature trips


bird watching





wild flowers


The watershed remains open to the public, with some restrictions, for recreational use daily from sunrise to sunset. The recent county health order prohibits vehicles and parking at the watershed, with the exception of people with disabilities who have the required disability placards or license plates for their vehicles. Parking for those with disabilities is available at our Sky Oaks parking lot. While the watershed remains open, visitors must comply with social distancing requirements of at least 6 feet. All volunteer programs that take place on the watershed have been canceled until further notice.

3 months ago

So... Although I have much experience with hikes from my past. This guy was my first long hike in many years and my fourth hike in general this month. I have to warn y'all that this is NOT moderate. It is hard!!! Maybe If you are very conditioned it's not say bad, but thanks to my app, I know that I did over 2k stairs alone. The stairs killed me. There are sooooo many stairs on this. Also, the hike stated 7 miles. Being new to this app I was too slow to realize that it didn't take into account the constant mountain climbing and descending. We were so fatigued that we ended up cutting off a decent chunk, but actual walking steps it was 8.5 miles. If we would have done the normal route it would have been about 12. So those are the warnings and hangups. But positives: - truly beautiful. - great for dogs. (watch out for ticks. Despite preparations my dog and I both got one lodged in us). - feels safe. - diversity in the trail. Nothing is boring. - shaded. - good resting spots. - bathroom about 1.5 miles away from where the trail head starts. I recommend going counter clock wise for this, FYI. Otherwise you'll hit the bathrooms before you probably need them and also that 1.5 miles is allll up hill or all down.

I enjoy hiking in this area. It can get crowded at times with large groups of weekend hikers. This hike ended up being more like a 9mile trail which wouldn’t matter much except for time of hike planning.

Lovely hike! Cataract trail is highly trafficked but once we were off that trail we saw very few people. It was quite peaceful. About three miles in there were tons of little bugs that we couldn’t escape. The trail was longer than is listed, we went approximately 9 miles in 4 hours with a brief stop for lunch.

Mon Oct 22 2018

This is in accurate. It was way longer than 7 miles and took over 4 hours to complete. Little bugs swarmed my head buzzing in my ears and the whole thing is steep up or down, so hard on the knees. The view of the lake was nice.

Sun Feb 12 2017